Writing 101: Logical Fallacies That You Should Know!

Fallacies are common in writing and are very apparent in newspapers, advertisements – and even casual conversations and arguments.


If you didn’t know already, fallacies are illogical and faulty reasoning that may give a stronger impression to an argument than it really is – and is often false or exaggerated.


Here are some logical fallacies that you should know!


1. Hasty Generalization 

Hasty generalizations are fallacies that are simply jumping to conclusions.


Example: All philosophy courses are hard

How to avoid this fallacy: Avoid words like ‘everybody’, ‘all’, ‘nothing’, and qualifying statements.



2. Stereotypes 

Stereotypes are a  form of hasty generalization applied to people.


Example: Rich kids are spoiled brats

How to avoid this fallacy: Qualify and specify your statements; prove with evidence.



3. Oversimplification 

The severe reduction of choice, sometimes limited to an “either” or dilemma


Example: If he lived a stress-free life, he could avoid being sick

How to avoid this fallacy: Qualify your statements and identify all causes and effects.



4. Post-Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc (Faulty Cause-Effect) 

After this, therefore because of this – X happened before Y; therefore, X caused Y


Example: The recent abolition of the death penalty has caused an increase in crimes

How to avoid this fallacy: Make sure that time is not the only thing linking the cause and effect.



5. Red Herring 

Involves a statement that has no direct relevance to the topic, acting as a distraction to the argument.


Example: Crimes are on the rise. Therefore, we had better restructure our income tax system.

How to avoid this fallacy: Be precise in distinguishing the relevant from the irrelevant.


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